Golden Apple winner to deliver ideal lecture

Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 10, 2005

John Rubadeau’s lips were sealed when his students approached him and asked about the lecture he will be delivering at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater at the Michigan League.

Rubadeau, an English lecturer, is the winner of the 15th annual Golden Apple Award, presented by the Hillel subsidiary group Students Honoring Outstanding University Teaching and co-sponsored by Apple Computer. As part of the Golden Apple tradition, Rubadeau will give his ideal last lecture, “My Life (In Quotes).”

English Prof. Ralph Williams — the 1992 Golden Apple Award recipient — will introduce Rubadeau at tonight’s ceremony.

Rubadeau would not speak a word about the specifics of his lecture, but he elaborated on the subject of the talk.

“It’s about every man’s life,” he said. “The talk is going to be about the joy I encountered through life.” He added that he will deliver the lecture in the same jocose, interactive manner in which he conducts his class every day.

Engineering sophomore Corey Hyllested, a student of Rubadeau’s, said he had confronted his teacher about the lecture but could not get any answers.

“He wouldn’t tell me what the lecture is about, and it’s a secret,” Hyllested said. “But I imagine that it would be very entertaining.”

Hyllested is not the only student wondering about Rubadeau’s lecture. Engineering sophomore Kyle Allison also asked Rubadeau what the lecture would be about, but had no luck.

“He told me it would be ‘fucking hilarious,’ ” he said. “He said he doesn’t have any idea what he’s going to say, but I don’t think that’s true.”

LSA sophomore Lauren McKinney said she did not want to ask Rubadeau about his lecture. Rather, she said she would wait and anticipate the surprise.

“I didn’t want to ask him, because I didn’t want to go knowing what he wants to say,” McKinney said. “I’m definitely in for a surprise.”

Rubadeau’s students and colleagues had nothing but praise for the Golden Apple winner.

Allison said he enjoys the way Rubadeau brings surprises to his class lectures in the form of stories. “He tells us seemingly random stories that tie into class,” he said. “He thinks they’re funny.”

LSA senior Christina Del Tatto had similar experiences with Rubadeau.

“The workload was quite intense,” she said. But she added, “It was enjoyable and almost exciting to go to his class. You are always guaranteed to laugh.”

English Prof. William Alexander praised Rubadeau’s teaching style.

“He is tremendously popular, very committed to his students and very supportive,” he said.

English Prof. Richard Bailey said Rubadeau is “exuberant, full of energy and … loves his students.”

Del Tatto said Rubadeau deserves the award not only for being a good teacher, but also for truly caring about his students.

“John is someone who you know is always there for you,” she said. “Whether you have a question about a paper, usage, jobs or life, he is there with a listening ear and advice. I am constantly telling stories from that class and my crazy professor, John Rubadeau. I know that for the rest of my life, I will never forget that man nor stop talking about him. I am so proud that he is receiving the Golden Apple Award. He truly deserves it.”

The Golden Apple Award was founded by Hillel in 1991 to honor instructors who give outstanding lectures every day as if it were their last chance to reach out to their students, according to the Golden Apple Award website.

SHOUT received more than 500 votes this year, and Rubadeau was one of the top vote-getters, said LSA junior David Ravvin, co-chair of SHOUT. The award was chosen based on the number of votes and the strength of the nominations.